Key Stats: After being closer to ordinary in 2010 at Triple-A Tacoma, Ackley took the next step forward in just over two months with Tacoma last year raising his OBP by 83 points over his 2010 cup of coffee in Triple-A. Bad team or not, Ackley deserved to play at the Major League level and held his own in year one. Ackley had a .348 OBP and should only get better as he learns MLB pitching. In a 162-game season, Ackley should get double digits in both home runs and steals.
Skeptics Say: How many runs and RBI can Ackley get in this lineup? Unless Prince Fielder decides to take his talents to The Emerald City (not gonna happen), the league’s worst offense won’t be getting any external help. In 90 games, he did not reach 40 runs or 40 RBI last year. If we assume that he can’t get into 80 in either of those categories, how is he worth a top ten pick at his position as the experts all think in What They’re Saying?
Peer Comparison: The best second baseman in fantasy baseball since 2005 is Chase Utley. The best second basemen since 2008 have been Dustin Pedroia and Robinson Cano. Here are where all of these guys were at age 23 & 24:
Utley: Not in MLB at 23 and registered 152 plate appearances with a .239 average
Pedroia: 86 R 8 HR 50 RBI 7 SB .317 AVG vs. 118 R 17 HR 83 RBI 20 SB .326 AVG
Cano: 62 R 15 HR 78 RBI 5 SB .342 AVG vs. 93 R 19 HR 97 RBI 4 SB .306 AVG
The emergence with Utley came late, so the same could happen with Ackley. Then again, Pedroia emerged from the numbers that were essentially the same as Ackley this past year to turn into an MVP at age 24. As Kevin Garnett would say, anything is possible with regards to Ackley taking the next step.
Lineup Outlook: Here is a potential projected lineup for the Mariners:
Ichiro Suzuki (RF)
Kyle Seager or Chone Figgins (2B)
Mike Carp (DH)
Justin Smoak (1B)
Trayvon Robinson (LF)
Franklin Gutierrez (CF)
Miguel Olivo (C)
Brendan Ryan (SS)
Look at the names. Seven of these players would probably hit 9th for the Yankees. Of course things can change, but the Winter Meetings are over and this is what the Mariners can do as of now. It’s not good.
Projection: The runs and RBI are going to make him seem like a lesser player than he really is. Ackley will be a future top five at this position.
78 R 14 HR 82 RBI 12 SB .282 AVG .825 OPS